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Sure Fire Soul Ensemble

Some of the music you hear on this show is the work of Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, a San Diego-based Afro-funk and soul-jazz band. Their keyboard player is Tim Felten, who, as it happens, is also the editor and engineer for A Way with Words. He selects...

Old Dan Tucker

The song Old Dan Tucker has a long history in the United States, going back to the minstrel shows of the 1840s. Martha highly recommends the documentary Ethnic Notions about our country’s complicated history with racially-charged imagery in...

Poetry Improves Writing

Can reading poetry make you a better writer? The way poetry pushes up against the rules of grammar makes it a great teacher even for the writing of standard prose. And while plenty of poems are best comprehended by the wise and mature, hip-hop is a...